I think most of us were lulled to sleep during the first two rounds of the 2014 US Open at The Pinehurst Resort with the ease at which most of the players were getting around the 100 year-old Donald Ross design in the sand hills of North Carolina. The USGA turned up the heat on Moving Day and only two players escaped under par.
I knew they were only being nice during the first two rounds because of logistics. Had they set the course up this difficult during the opening rounds, we would still be trying to get the 156 players who started on Thursday through the first 36 holes.
Not even 29 year-old Martin Kaymer, who began the day with a six-shot lead on Saturday afternoon was able to get back to the clubhouse without giving a couple back to par.
The 2014 Players Champ has led wire-to-wire so far, but lost one shot to the field on Saturday, and will tee it up on Father’s Day with a five-shot cushion.
What has changed however, is the cast of characters who are chasing. Kaymer played in the final group on Saturday with HP Byron Nelson Champ, Brendon Todd. The 28 year-old Georgia grad from Pittsburgh threw a 79 at the board and will give way on Sunday to Rickie Fowler.
Fowler, and two-time heart transplant recipient, Erik Compton shot matching 3-under par 67’s on Saturday and were the only players in the field to crack par on Moving Day at Pinehurst.
While Rickie Fowler will be playing alongside Kaymer during the final round on Sunday, Compton will draw 2013 FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai Champion, Henrik Stenson.
Stenson played tee to green as well as anyone on Saturday, but suffered the same fate that has haunted six-time US Open runner-up, Phil Mickelson. He couldn’t make a putt.
I had said in my blog on Saturday morning, that if the field could gain three strokes on Martin Kaymer during Moving Day, they may stand a chance of unseating the leader, but that didn’t happen.
Kaymer made a couple of mistakes, but looks to be in control of all aspects of his game. He was able to scramble from some early trouble, made an eagle at the fifth hole and the perfect drive on 18 with the following birdie showed us he is ready to win another major championship.
Although there is major championship pedigree hot on his tail, I think everyone needs for Martin Kaymer to make some mistakes on Sunday for them to have a chance.
At this point, he seems to have a death grip on the lead, and will be tough again on Fathers Day. We know for sure the golf course will be!